Did David Gyngell quit after he
learned of plans last week to appoint Sam Chisholm as executive
director of PBL’s TV interests? Was it the final straw, together with
the growing number of second-guessing experts and the demands for
information from John Alexander? And does this whole situation raise
the prospect that the Packers are interested in selling the Nine
Network and want to concentrate on gambling?

Several points support these conclusions. Nine didn’t come up with
the new structure over the weekend as a means to counter David
Gyngell’s decision to quit. Gyngell quit on Monday morning when he told
the Packers of his decision. Discussions had been going on since last
Thursday.

He
had indicated to Kerry Packer on Friday that it was an “either or”
situation; either things change, allowing him to run Nine unhindered,
or he would go. He singled out John Alexander. When the answer was no,
Gyngell decided to quit on Friday, didn’t come to work, and despite
repeated attempts by James Packer to talk him out of the decision over
the weekend, made it final yesterday, issued his statement and left.

The
key part of his statement, issued independently of PBL, said: “I
reached the determination that I was simply not prepared to allow my
position to be rendered untenable by what I regard as increasingly
unhelpful and multilayered management systems developing between Nine
and PBL”.

This was both a reference to the “experts” and to the
new structure to be announced yesterday. It was put to Gyngell that, as
a way for Kerry Packer to reduce his very active day to day contact
with him, Chisholm would take his place. The new structure was
discussed at a management meeting last Thursday.

The full story is on the site here.

Peter Fray

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